College: Getting pulled in a hundred directions

Anne Berg, Features Editor

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     I have been a student for basically my entire life. As a student I have always worked hard to get the best grades and to always complete my homework on time. In high school this was easy, and in the beginning of college this was also relatively easy, although slightly harder because of a brand new list of temptations. But once you hit Junior and Senior year that is when stuff starts to get hard, really hard. Because it’s no longer just about classes. This is when the pressures of graduation and real life start to barrel done on you and all of a sudden you are trying to do twenty things at once. After a week of no sleep you realize that something has to give. But what?

     Let’s start with the list of things that students are expected to be responsible for on a regular basis for not only survival and happiness in the present but also in the future. Classes are the biggest and yet easiest item on the to do list. First of all we are paying thousands of dollars to take these classes so for the most part we all know how important it is to go to them. But obviously there is a certain expectation that teachers have of their students in each class. You should be paying attention, taking notes, and participating in class discussions.

     In order to even participate in class though you have to do your homework, and really understand it. I normally have at least an hour of homework per class per day, but most of the time even more depending on the classes. This homework isn’t supposed to be just finished but it is supposed to be finished well, with full understanding, and finished in advance.

     And then there is more than just the everyday homework assignments that are important for class discussion. There are also the projects, papers, and exams that you are expected to be working on/ studying for gradually throughout the semester so you do not have to cram last minute. Which lets, face it, no one has time to plan ahead when we’re all struggling to just keep up. And that’s only the required stuff that’s necessary for good grades and recommendation letters.

     Depending on how strapped for money you are a part time or even full time job can be necessary for life. So really this can be placed even above homework in some cases. And it has the possibility to take up all of your free time.

     And then you move on to school clubs. In order to be recognized as a well rounded student it is important to be involved in several school clubs. And more than just going to the meetings, future jobs and grad school programs want to see that you were actually involved and had a big part to play, like being an officer and participating in all of the fundraisers. But being an officer is an entire job alone that takes a lot of time and effort outside of the weekly meetings.

     And then you have to make sure that you are on top of all of your classes and taking everything you need to take in the right semester so that you can graduate on time and not spend thousands more because you missed one class. And on top of that you have to make sure that you are staying on top of all of extra requirements necessary for graduation. Things like e-portfolios that are necessary for English majors to graduate. Those crazy packets that all education majors have to complete. And required un-paid internships for several majors.

     And then you move on to the stuff that the school doesn’t have any control or say over but are just as important. Job applications. Grad school Applications. Internships for yourself and not your major requirements. All those things that should really be the most important things because they are the ones that will really get you somewhere in life after college but are somehow relegated to the bottom of the list.

     And then you can finally have time for a social life. To party with friends, go on exciting adventures, or just have a movie night because lets face it we’re all dead at this point anyway.

     And then comes the time for your own personal hobbies. The things that you really enjoy doing, the things that you wish you could turn into a career.

     And then comes sleep, or lets face it, Netflix.

     Oh and of course the ever present question of, ‘What am I doing with my life?’

     And I didn’t even mention exercise and trying to live a healthy lifestyle.

     This is a huge list and let’s face it, most of us aren’t capable of fitting every one of these items into our daily to do list and then still being able to function like a normal adult. And obviously the order of this list differs from person to person or even day-to-day. Some days you just need sleep more than anything. And some days all you want is to just hang out with friends and forget about all of your worries. And everyone prioritizes his or her life differently. For some people school is the only important thing. And for others they are only here for the social life and the resulting degree.

     Expectations versus reality are so different when it comes to college. You go into it expecting to be able to have the best time of your life and then graduate with great grades and a great job lined up. Unfortunately the more and more people go to college, the harder it gets to just breeze through into a job. And unlike high school where you get to leave at the end of the day, most of us are stuck here, rotting in prison; I mean living in on or off campus dorms and apartments.

     When asked what her thoughts were on a part-time job and extra-curricula, Liz Dietrich-Selgrath, a Senior at Bloomsburg University says, “It’s all necessary evils: in order to go to school you need money, in order to make money to pay for school you need a job, to have a job you need time, but in order to be a good student most of your time should be spent doing school work, but then to pad your resume to find a better job after college you need to join and be involved in clubs/ organizations related to the field you want to go into, but you need the time you spend on that for school work and your job…So you run yourself ragged trying to make sure you meet all your obligations while still doing things you want to do for your sanity.”

     Now that it is my last semester at Bloomsburg I have realized how much I have pushed to the wayside in terms of extra curricula and future plans. The truth is I have spent the majority of my college career focusing on trying to be the best student I could be, as well as always trying to do things that make me happy. Although we all joke about waiting until we are out into the real world, right now is the real world. This is our life. Our future happiness depends on the decisions we make right now, but so does our present happiness. The best thing we can do for ourselves is find the perfect balance between present and future happiness, no matter what it means.

     Whoever said college students don’t know how to manage their time wisely is wrong. We all manage our time in a way that best suits us at each moment. The real issue is that we do not have enough time to accomplish everything on our list and still sleep.